1. Who is blessed Luigi Monza?
Luigi Monza was born at Cislago (Varese) on June 22nd 1898, in a simple rural family whose only wealth were work, courage and faith.
At the age of 18, after experimenting the country hard work, long sleepless nights to catch up with his studies and the everyday efforts of poor people struggling to keep body and soul together, Luigi Monza entered the catholic Seminary where he was ordained priest on September 19th, 1925.
His first pastoral assignment was with the Vedano Olona Parish, where he provided spiritual assistance and education to adolescents and young people.
Father Luigi Monza first years as a priest were marked by severe trials including the harshness and unjust jail of the fascists.
In 1928 he was assigned to the Blessed Virgin of Miracles Sanctuary in Saronno where he soon became the promoter of a number of activities involving young people. Here, his eyes – sharpened by the trials of life and seized by God’s gaze – had learnt to look very faraway, over the whole world; a world marked by solitude, sadness and selfishness, in urgent need to be brought back to God’s love. It was a great intuition, but it was necessary to wait for the Lord to tell the way to implement it. In particular, looking at this “pagan world”, as he used to call it, he got the intuition that the charity uniting the early Christians was the most appropriate means to be neighbour to the man of today and announce the good news of the Lord. Christians from within the society, sharing their daily life experience and in one’s own professional task, were to be the witnesses and the living presence of God’s love for men.
In 1936 Father Luigi Monza was appointed Pastor of Saint John Parish in Lecco, where he acted in unity with God’s heart.
In 1937 the way the Lord had prepared for him became clear. The Secular Institute of the Little Apostles of Charity, conceived by his fatherly heart, was to act as a gift of the Spirit, offering mankind the fullness of lives consecrated to Christ’s love “with the apostolic fervor of the early Christian community”.
The Association La Nostra Famiglia is the expression of his charity and that of the Little Apostles. He recommended that the Institution be the place to witness his prophetical intuition: “ to our world, morally upset, by the examples of your lives, go out and tell how wonderful it is to leave in one another’s love”. The Institution developed gradually; like a seed that contains in its extremely small shape the whole dimension of a great purpose: to thake care of children with disability.
On the 29th of September 1954, Father Luigi silently stepped apart and disappeared, like the grain rotting to produce the ear, honestly conscious that he had accomplished his duty and had given the community the good indications from where to depart and where to arrive: the road ascending to God. All the rest was to follow.
Father Luigi was proclaimed blessed on 30th April 2006 in the Cathedral of Milan.
2. Which is his message?
Father Luigi Monza perceived Christians in today’s society as witnesses and living presences of love in everyday life. He reached this profound intuition looking at the secularization process in which a society based on values was being replaced by a hard competitive society no longer respecting the man and his essence, but only appreciating him as a rough catcher and a winner. His message is extremely up-to-date and asks the Christian not to run away from the “new paganism” but rather to share – in the name of charity – mankind life “penetrating” our society “with the same spirit of the Apostles, to relish the spirituality of the Gospel of the Lord and enjoy altogether the happiness to live as brothers in Christ”.
Father Luigi’s message is for us all, men and women, called to live our lives in our own families or in consecration, in our professions, duties and in our spare time …. telling the words to accompany us every day. All his teaching turns on this: charity pushes us to take care of our brothers and the human community; it becomes explicit in all our interpersonal relationships and projects us in missionary and evangelization activities. This is the heart of our living together and helps us to build a new model of society ruled by the law of love. Our ideal is the early Christian community, living one in heart and soul, where charity was the dimension to live close to one another in the way Christ had told us and committed to announce his Gospel. Christians find the meaning and strength for an intense life of action and hope through a personal and profound relationship with God and an unceasing prayer experience.
The blessed Luigi Monza invites us all, today as he did in the past, saying : ”Tell this world of today, morally devastated, with the examples of your lives: look how marvelous it is to live in one another’s love
3. For whom did blessed Luigi Monza write his message?
His message fascinates today like yesterday. Many groups and experiences have been inspired by his charisma. Father Luigi Monza’s life is like the parable of the grain in the Gospel: from his life consumed in the charity were born the Little Apostles of Charity (men and women), groups for priests, children, young people, couples, families, workers of “La Nostra Famiglia”, widows, volunteers. All of them choose to live their daily life according to his message.
4. What did blessed Luigi Monza found?
Father Luigi thought about consecrated persons who could witness the charity and “gladness of living brethren in Christ”, living in the world with the people of their time. The Secular Institute of Little Apostles of Charity was born In this way, even if the Church recognized this particular modality of consecration just in 1947.
Father Luigi Monza founded “La Nostra Famiglia” whose name explains the goal of this Association to shape in the world a big family in which people are joined in solidarity and fraternity. Everybody can belong to this family if witnesses the charity of first Christians. The charity towards poor has taken a particular place in the service of “La Nostra Famiglia” which concentrates its attention on disabled persons.
On 28th May 1946 the two first children, Vera and Umberto, were welcomed in the house in Vedano Olona while Father Luigi was still alive. In 1954 the Ministry of Health recognized one of the Centers of “La Nostra Famiglia” as the first Extra Hospital Rehabilitation Centre. Since then, “La Nostra Famiglia” has never stopped growing. Nowadays the Association counts 35 centers in Italy and 4 centers abroad. It is right to remember that Father Luigi considered poor all the people in any kind of need, either the ones who asked a material or a spiritual help or the ones not able to ask this. To him the poor were the ones named in the Gospel: sick, disabled, workless or moneyless people, people in any kind of difficulties. Father Luigi Monza showed through his life how it is necessary to be attentive to the present world to find out the most needful people asking help. When he met someone in need, he didn’t judge: somebody was in need and it was necessary to do something.
The mission of “La Nostra Famiglia” is “to translate” the teaching of Blessed Luigi Monza in a modern language: “to protect and to improve the quality of life for disabled persons through rehabilitation”. “La Nostra Famiglia” doesn’t take care just of the disability itself, but pays attention to personal and familiar suffering too.
Others tasks of the Association are in the field of scientific research about development pathologies and in formation programs for the ones who work in social and health services.
“La Nostra Famiglia” continues its growth, according to the prophecy of his Founder: “ Our work will spread until the utmost boundaries of the world”. He said so when this reality was still small.
5. How can i pray blessed Luigi Monza?
Booklet of prayers
6. Where is blessed Luigi Monza buried?
Blessed Luigi Monza is buried in the chapel of “la Nostra Famiglia” in Ponte Lambro (North of Italy).